Walking Mountains Science Center lands efficiency grant | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains Science Center lands efficiency grant

Daily staff report

AVON — Walking Mountains Science Center was recently awarded a $105,000 grant to improve the energy efficiency, safety and comfort of income-qualified homes in Eagle County through a partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado and local utilities Black Hills Energy, Xcel Energy and Holy Cross Energy.

Energy Outreach Colorado, a Denver-based statewide nonprofit, established Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program to provide free home energy assessments and upgrades to income-qualified homeowners and tenants. Cost-effective upgrades are identified by a local energy professional and can include an Energy Star refrigerator, insulation and air sealing, furnace tune-up and safety check and more. Small upgrades, such as LED light-bulbs, efficient faucet heads, programmable thermostats and pipe insulation, may be installed during the initial assessment.

“These energy efficiency upgrades mean these families are going to save on their utility costs, and that will trickle down to decisions about what foods they can afford,” Luke Ilderton, director of Energy Efficiency Programs, Energy Outreach Colorado, said. “The upgrades will also make their homes healthier and safer, giving them a more comfortable living environment.”

Because the state program will leverage funding from Holy Cross Energy, Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy, it can help many more families, Ilderton said.

To qualify for Colorado’s Affordable Residential Energy program, a household must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income. That means a family of four can earn a maximum of $70,720 per year. Participants must live in Eagle County and receive their utility service from Holy Cross Energy, Black Hills Energy and/or Xcel Energy.

The program is available for both homeowners and renters, with homeowner authorization.

Healthier, Comfortable Home

Energy Outreach Colorado provides grant funding and processes the applications to verify household income levels. Walking Mountains Science Center administers the program and facilitates the household assessments and upgrades.

“The program is an effective way to save local families money, as well as increase the safety and comfort of the home, at no cost to the participant. After a successful pilot year last fall, we are excited to expand the program and serve more than 30 families in this community over the next year who can truly benefit from these energy saving improvements,” John-Ryan Lockman, energy programs director, Walking Mountains Science Center, said.

For more information, call Lockman, 970-328-8777, email eagle@energysmart colorado.com or go to http://www.energy smartcolorado.com/incomequalified/.

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